Are you getting enough vitamin B in your diet? We take a look at where you may be a little deficient.
1. Defining deficiency
Vitamin B deficiency is more common than you may think. Studies show that up to 20% of the general population has a vitamin B12 deficiency! Left untreated, B Vitamin deficiencies can lead to ill health and even anaemia.
B vitamins are vital for normal growth, the formation of red blood cells and for maintaining the body’s nervous system. On its own, the human body cannot produce B vitamins so we have to ingest them regularly. Animal proteins, fortified cereal products and supplements are good sources of B Vitamins. A sufficient daily intake helps the body absorb folic acid, which facilitates the release of energy.
2. Signs and symptoms
A vitamin B deficiency can occur if you have:
- Inadequate intake of the vitamin from a restricted or poor diet
- Decreased absorption from the gut from a gastrointestinal disorder or surgery
- Impaired metabolism of the vitamin in the body, which can be cause by liver disease
- Increased demand for the vitamin
Common symptoms of anaemia are:
- Fatigue or tiredness
- Shortness of breath or panting
- A sore mouth or tongue
- Weight loss (which can’t be explained easily)
- Pale or yellowish skin
- Diarrhea (sporadic)
- Menstrual problems
- Higher susceptibility to infections
A vitamin B deficiency left untreated may cause the following neurological signs and symptoms:
- Tingling or numbness of the fingers and toes
- General muscle weakness
- Difficulty walking properly (staggering) or an abnormal gait
- Forgetfulness or other mood disturbances
- Tender calves
3. Are you at risk?
The following ailments, habits or conditions can lead to a vitamin B deficiency:
- Overall poor diet choices or a heavily restricted diet
- Gastrointestinal conditions like Crohn’s disease and coeliac disease
- Excessive alcohol intake
- Certain chronic medications, such as diabetic or acid reflux medications
- Being older than 50
If you suspect you have a vitamin B deficiency, you should visit your healthcare provider and have a blood test done to check your levels. It’s always advisable to check concerns with your doctor as symptoms may be related to another medical condition.
For more information on vitamin B deficiencies and supplement products, visit Neurobion® — it’s not your average vitamin B supplement.